Statement on the disqualification of four Legislative Council members
The NPCSC passed a resolution on 11 November 2020 directing HKSAR Government to disqualify Legislative Council members under certain circumstances (the “Decision”), after which the government immediately made an announcement to disqualify four legislators, Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok. The claim was that they are deemed to have (i) advocated or supported “Hong Kong independence“; (ii) refused to admit China’s sovereignty over the HKSAR; (iii) sought foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs; (iv) endangered national security; and (v) failed to uphold the Basic Law and pledged allegiance to the HKSAR (the “Announcement”).
We, the undersigned in our personal capacity, as solicitors and legal academics deeply concerned about the Rule of Law in Hong Kong, we feel duty bound to express our view that the Decision and the Announcement to disqualify the four legislators are contrary to the Rule of Law, the principle of “one country, two systems”, the express provisions of Article 79 of the Basic Law, the constitutional rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law, as well as due process.
Among other things, legislators are representatives of the people who must not be unseated by the executive branch alone; otherwise the right of political participation would be seriously abrogated.
Further, the legislators have been disqualified by taking into account their conduct which happened before the National Security Law came into effect on 30 June 2020 for their alleged failure to comply with requirements related thereto. The requirements are therefore applied retroactively, contrary to constitutional principles and international standards.
The principle of rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success because it guards us against arbitrary exercise of power. The rule of law also embodies a commitment to govern society by rules fairly, whereby the rights and freedoms of citizens can be protected. We urge the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to respect the rule of law and not to override the rule of law with politics.
Eric Cheung Tat Ming
Michelle Tsoi Wing Tak
Janet Pang Ho Yan
13 November 2020